It’s become the knee-jerk reaction for Republicans, in light of an ugly Congressional Budget Office analysis of their Obamacare repeal bill, to point the finger at the non-partisan research agency instead.
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney took it a step further this week, by questioning the abilities of Holly Harvey, the head of its health analysis division, to be non-partisan.
“At some point, you’ve got to ask yourself, has the day of the CBO come and gone?” Mulvaney told the Washington Examiner Wednesday. “How much power do we give to the CBO under the 1974 Budget Act? We’re hearing now that the person in charge of the Affordable Health Care Act methodology is an alum of the Hillarycare program in the 1990s who was brought in by Democrats to score the ACA.”
Prior to coming on to the CBO in 2009, Harvey served in the Clinton administration’s Health and Human Services Department, according to the Examiner.
The CBO director, Keith Hall, who signed off on the CBO score of the GOP health bill, was the chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisers in the George W. Bush White House and was handpicked by then House Budget Committee Chair Tom Price (who is now Trump’s HHS secretary) to lead the CBO.
Mulvaney, in the Examiner interview, said that the CBO’s assumptions about Medicaid cuts were “just absurd,” while suggesting a bias in favor of Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which the GOP bill would eliminate.
“If the same person is doing the score of undoing Obamacare who did the scoring of Obamacare in the first place, my guess is that there is probably some sort of bias in favor of a government mandate,” he said.
The CBO has found that that the Republican health bill, the American Health Care Act, would lead to 23 million people losing coverage, cut $664 billion in taxes (mostly for high-earners and the industry), while saving the government $119 billion. It also found the legislation would lower premiums considerably in some places, but with the trade-off of making health coverage more expensive for older consumers and those with pre-existing conditions.